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Gold Medals: How much is the raw gold worth?

As the United States has racked up 3 gold medals, and counting, behind China currently with 9, how much is the gold in a gold medal worth in the futures market?

The medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics are unique in that they incorporate an inlaid ring of jade, signifying honor and virtue in Chinese culture http://www.nbcolympics.com/medals/funfacts/index.html . The gold medal is actually pure silver with about 6 grams of gold plating.

  • A trading unit of gold in the futures market is 100 troy ounces www.nymex.com/GC_spec.aspx
  • One troy ounce is about the equivalent of 31.1 grams

Gold has fallen since the opening ceremonies on Friday. On Monday the settlement, or NYMEX closing price, of gold futures for August delivery was $821.50, down over 4% to settle at its lowest level in 2008.

At a price of $821.50 per troy ounce, divide $821.50 by 31.1 to get the price of 1 gram, and multiply by 6 for the price of 6 grams, and at Monday's closing price, the raw value of the gold in a gold medal is $158.5.

On Friday, gold settled at $857.8 per troy ounce, therefore the value of gold in a gold medal on Friday would have been $165.49 for a depreciation of about 4.41%.

Obviously, it is not the value of the raw material, but the memories, the triumph and the craftsmanship that count, and they are priceless.

Send comments tobythenumbers@cnbc.com

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